A little far from where two dirt roads intersect on the Kansas prairie is a newly purchased $ 30 million hunting complex – the Hooray ranch. This exclusive lodge serves five-star meals three times a day and features luxurious accommodations and an employee-to-guest ratio of more than one to one.
In June, when Bob Hixson learned that the central Kansas property was for sale, he and his wife, Amanda, decided to act quickly. After attending hunting weekends for several years as a guest at the lodge, Bob Hixson, who lives in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, knew this was a property he wanted to invest in – and grow in.
âI really enjoyed coming here,â said Hixson, owner of Hixson Family Properties.
Hooray Ranch spans five counties in central Kansas
Real estate specialist Tom McFarlane of Whitetail Properties Real Estate, who listed the property, said Hooray Ranch is one of the few such properties in the Midwest.
Spanning five counties, the land is teeming with waterfowl, pheasants and deer. Because the original owner, Eric Dunn, wanted to create a legacy, he sold all of the hunting and farm land, including water sources and structures, in one parcel.
The main Reno County campus consists of a 10,000 square foot house, a 9,000 square foot pavilion, a farm-to-table gourmet dining room, guest rooms and of hunting facilities in Kingman. Comprising over 20,000 acres, the 11 farms and non-adjacent hunting lands are in Harper, Kingman, Reno and Sumner counties, with most of the farmland held in Stafford County.
The Hixsons want to expand and add more hunting grounds. The couple enjoy hunting waterfowl and have traveled to Canada, Mexico, New Mexico and Texas to hunt. But their favorite place to visit has always been Hurray Ranch.
Farm-to-table dinner at Hourra Ranch
Along with the professional guides, the European tour, and the unspoiled landscape, visitors are treated to foods raised in Kansas and grown in Kansas, including wagyu steaks. The wagyu are raised in Garden Plain – about 30 miles from the ranch.
Executive chef Michael Benson has been brought in from California to procure a five-star menu. In addition to most of the fruits, herbs, and vegetables from the ranch garden he helps maintain, he uses eggs from free-range chickens and sources pork and beef from ranchers in Kansas.
âIf you want fresh produce, you have to grow it yourself,â Benson said.
Benson makes a tomato sauce fresh from the garden. It also pickles and canned and labels meals as superbly cooked Midwest Comfort foods. In addition to the reinforced Hooray Ranch dressing, meats are often cooked over coals on a grill, the Hooray Ranch Grill, which is built and sold to Hesston.
With a five-year waiting list, most guests at the Hooray Ranch reserve an annual spot
Visitors from all over the United States inhabit this place for a few days each year. With a waiting list of more than five years, most visitors reserve an annual place.
The ranch tries to keep the number of guests down, providing multiple guides and a very cohesive atmosphere.
“We are going further,” said Jesse Vliet, managing director. “We strive to exceed expectations in everything we do.”
Although they try to expand their brand every season, the ranch doesn’t want to exceed their intimate atmosphere.
Eddy Moore of Dallas is planning a trip with five friends. He used to hunt in Kansas, but not in Hooray. After his mid-December hunt, he said he would return.
“It is an exceptional place to stay,” he said.
Justin Healey, from Viking ships, helped coordinate ranch retreats for Viking. What impresses Healey most is the staff, saying they are five star.
âThey know everyone by first name, and they treat you like family,â he said. âThere aren’t many places in North America with this incredible vision. They are world class in every way.
History of the Hurray ranch
Started in 2013 by Wichita businessman Eric Dunn, Hooray Ranch continues to grow. Along the way, the ranch added more land, increased hunting to include deer and a variety of waterfowl, invented a new grill, and introduced farm-to-table dinners, which take place during the summer months.
With each addition, the ranch experiences greater customer loyalty.
âThis is the most amazing place,â said Carmine Galati, owner of Galati yacht auction, who returned in December for a third year. “Everything here is great, from the food hunt to the accommodation. Everything is off the charts.”
Dunn put the ranch up for sale for $ 32 million last June. A month later, the place was sold.
Who owns Hourra Ranch?
In June, Doman Building Materials Group in Vancouver, Canada, purchased Hixson Lumber, a family-owned company that operates in eight states and has 19 facilities, including five sawmills in Arkansas, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Doman acquired the leading lumber manufacturing and wholesale company that employs more than 1,000 people, according to Doman’s June 4 press release, for approximately $ 375 million.
âI sold my lumber business and invested a portion of the proceeds in this (property),â Hixson said.
The Hixsons want people to feel right at home on their ânewâ ranch.
âEric (Dunn) did a great job building this place. I want to maintain it or improve it,â Hixson said. “I want everyone to enjoy their time here, relax and have a good camaraderie.”